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Help! What could be causing my recent horrible breakouts?

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#1 veelabrothel

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 07:39 PM

Help!

Within the past two or three months I have developed cystic acne on my chin and around my mouth. As soon as one starts to go away, another one forms and at any given time I have at least five in the area. It’s awful. I am 26 years old and have dealt with skin issues for years and years. I first went to the dermatologist at about age 15 and by 16/17 had wonderful skin (I was on a retinoid at the time) but was constantly thinking about it, it was an obsession. When it started to get bad again at around 19 I ended up on Accutane. Altogether I have tried antibiotics, all the retinoids, topical antibiotics, BP, SA, etc. Accutane gave me flawless skin and I used a retinoid again for a while after going off it. I went a long time without using anything on my face, then it started to sort of get bad again (not terrible though by any stretch) and I was prescribed Duac, which worked fine but my skin looked rather dull, so I wanted to possibly switch to something else even before this awful spell of terrible breakouts.

Anyway, my skin was pretty good for these past years, I would break out a little bit but it never bothered me because it would always go away and I went months with no breakouts at all. It wasn’t until probably sometime in February that my face erupted. It didn’t come on altogether, but over the weeks it has accumulated spots that just don’t go away. I went back to the derm in early March and he gave me Epiduo, which I actually like. I can see where it is making the rest of my face look brighter and less dull and I am getting tiny little whiteheads that last a day at most on other parts of my face (which as I recall is typical when starting medicine like this) but it has no effect on the acne around my mouth and chin. It’s gotten to the point where I am feeling like I did as a teenager….completely obsessed. It’s AWFUL.

I am a vegetarian and also lactose intolerant, so basically I amount to being a vegan. I eat pretty healthy, have an outdoors job which gives me tons of exercise, and a generally healthy lifestyle. No caffeine, no smoking. But I don’t know if that would matter anyway because I went years just like this with skin that is just fine. There is only one thing that has changed: in the beginning of January of this year, I eliminated soy products from my diet, as in no fake meats made from soy, no soy milk, and no butter alternatives made with soy. Soy is in a lot of things so occasionally I will eat something containing it if I can’t help it. I stopped partly for digestive reasons. A glass of soy milk made me feel like I had eaten six thanksgiving dinners and I was feeling strange and very emotional and unlike myself. After much research I had a hunch it was soy and boy did it make a difference when I stopped. I had been consuming a lot to replace the dairy and meat that was lacking in my diet. I felt like I had the flu for about five days after going off it and got my period a week early, so it must have been affecting me.

I recall my skin getting nicer after I started with soy instead of milk, but I figured at the time it was the elimination of dairy and not the addition of soy having the effect. At first my stomach felt better too because almost anything is better than how dairy makes me feel. I was really consuming a lot of soy in the past two or three years though compared to how much I ate in the years before. Could my acne possibly be a side effect of going off soy? I’ve heard of people getting bad skin FROM soy, but never from stopping. I have had to replace some of my soy products, like almond milk for soy, but the others are all things I had eaten before anyway. Almond milk is the only new one. Another small factor might be that I went on antibiotics for something non acne related for a short while at the end of February. That definitely had an effect on my stomach but I don’t recall it doing anything to my skin around that time.

Any advice or experience? I just joined these boards and I really admire you guys, there is a wealth of knowledge to be mined here and I have searched around looking to see if anything applied to me. I would appreciate any help, I am desperate and tired of dealing with my skin! Thank you!


#2 shazamwow

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 10:01 PM

QUOTE (veelabrothel @ May 9 2011, 08:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Help!

Within the past two or three months I have developed cystic acne on my chin and around my mouth. As soon as one starts to go away, another one forms and at any given time I have at least five in the area. It’s awful. I am 26 years old and have dealt with skin issues for years and years. I first went to the dermatologist at about age 15 and by 16/17 had wonderful skin (I was on a retinoid at the time) but was constantly thinking about it, it was an obsession. When it started to get bad again at around 19 I ended up on Accutane. Altogether I have tried antibiotics, all the retinoids, topical antibiotics, BP, SA, etc. Accutane gave me flawless skin and I used a retinoid again for a while after going off it. I went a long time without using anything on my face, then it started to sort of get bad again (not terrible though by any stretch) and I was prescribed Duac, which worked fine but my skin looked rather dull, so I wanted to possibly switch to something else even before this awful spell of terrible breakouts.

Anyway, my skin was pretty good for these past years, I would break out a little bit but it never bothered me because it would always go away and I went months with no breakouts at all. It wasn’t until probably sometime in February that my face erupted. It didn’t come on altogether, but over the weeks it has accumulated spots that just don’t go away. I went back to the derm in early March and he gave me Epiduo, which I actually like. I can see where it is making the rest of my face look brighter and less dull and I am getting tiny little whiteheads that last a day at most on other parts of my face (which as I recall is typical when starting medicine like this) but it has no effect on the acne around my mouth and chin. It’s gotten to the point where I am feeling like I did as a teenager….completely obsessed. It’s AWFUL.

I am a vegetarian and also lactose intolerant, so basically I amount to being a vegan. I eat pretty healthy, have an outdoors job which gives me tons of exercise, and a generally healthy lifestyle. No caffeine, no smoking. But I don’t know if that would matter anyway because I went years just like this with skin that is just fine. There is only one thing that has changed: in the beginning of January of this year, I eliminated soy products from my diet, as in no fake meats made from soy, no soy milk, and no butter alternatives made with soy. Soy is in a lot of things so occasionally I will eat something containing it if I can’t help it. I stopped partly for digestive reasons. A glass of soy milk made me feel like I had eaten six thanksgiving dinners and I was feeling strange and very emotional and unlike myself. After much research I had a hunch it was soy and boy did it make a difference when I stopped. I had been consuming a lot to replace the dairy and meat that was lacking in my diet. I felt like I had the flu for about five days after going off it and got my period a week early, so it must have been affecting me.

I recall my skin getting nicer after I started with soy instead of milk, but I figured at the time it was the elimination of dairy and not the addition of soy having the effect. At first my stomach felt better too because almost anything is better than how dairy makes me feel. I was really consuming a lot of soy in the past two or three years though compared to how much I ate in the years before. Could my acne possibly be a side effect of going off soy? I’ve heard of people getting bad skin FROM soy, but never from stopping. I have had to replace some of my soy products, like almond milk for soy, but the others are all things I had eaten before anyway. Almond milk is the only new one. Another small factor might be that I went on antibiotics for something non acne related for a short while at the end of February. That definitely had an effect on my stomach but I don’t recall it doing anything to my skin around that time.

Any advice or experience? I just joined these boards and I really admire you guys, there is a wealth of knowledge to be mined here and I have searched around looking to see if anything applied to me. I would appreciate any help, I am desperate and tired of dealing with my skin! Thank you!


I'm really sorry you're dealing with this. It's devastating, I know. I know so well about the obsession too. I just wrote a blog and titled it "the OBSESSION" for that reason... I can't take it anymore!!

But I read your post and I thought I'd respond. Honestly, I'm not quite sure what it could be, but I've read that soy can increase levels of estrogen. Perhaps the excess estrogen was helping balance your hormones?? Just a thought... I know estrogen can combat excessive testosterone, and if your acne is hormonal it might have to do with testosterone...

I truly hope you find a cure, because acne is just so devastating.

#3 Kat9

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 10:29 PM

I would guess hormonal since it is localized to your chin. I tend to break out on my left cheek only - my right being completely clear. I sleep on my back and I never touch my skin. I've ruled out everything except the fact that it might be genetic or hereditary. Maybe this is just a new area acne has decided to develop for reasons unknown. Like a trigger location. If I could pinpoint where my acne originated I'd be 100% clear.

#4 Kristabel

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:37 AM

Have you recently stopped birth control or switched brands?

#5 veelabrothel

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 06:40 AM

Thank you so much for your responses!

Kristabel, no I have not. I've never actually been on birth control.

I've read stuff about the phytoestrogens in soy, mostly when I was trying to figure out why I had started feeling so weird these past years, and the consensus seemed to be that they were bad, bad, bad. But if your hormones are in need of regulating, then are they really all that bad? I don't think I want to start consuming soy again, I had too many bad effects from it, but are there are other things besides that and birth control that might help with hormonal acne, diet maybe or some kind of lifestyle changes?

The mystery is probably the worst part of acne. If I could just figure it out...

#6 Baroo

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 09:33 PM

I have the exact same problem. I've always gotten hormonal acne on my chin, but usually one or two, about a week before my period. Now it seems that as soon as one goes away another one pops up... and they never really seem to go away.

I was on atralin for a while but it made my face really red, so I stopped using it, and it was around then that my face started to get worse. I wonder if the atralin made things worse than they were...

I hope you get some answers; I'd like some myself.

#7 alt3

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 09:53 PM

Okay I made an account just to reply to your topic! smile.gif
I also consume about one or two glasses of soy a day so I was very interested in your soy theory.

Are you using lip balm or anything such as chapstick?
Because I know whenever I use chapstick, carmex, or anything like that my chin and around my mouth break out in cystic acne. So I have switched to Burts.

Anyways just thought I'd try and help but if this is not the case for you, good luck! smile.gif

#8 Boss01

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 08:00 AM

My skin broke out badly two weeks ago. I couldn't work out what was causing it
could of been the sun or something i ate, Maybe both. I've been eating well
and drinking only water and things are starting to get better. Was terrible two weeks back though looked as if somebody shot me in the face.

Edited by Boss01, 12 May 2011 - 08:00 AM.


#9 veelabrothel

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 08:33 PM

alt3, i do use lip balm, but i have been using the exact same kind for years now and have had pretty good skin for almost the whole time, so i don't know if that could be it.

i've been searching around a lot, trying to get to the bottom of this. i think my body is telling me something is wrong, i just wish i knew what it was!

#10 Eina

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 01:08 AM

Do you use make-up or have you started using new skincare products?

#11 cvd

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 10:49 AM

Almond milk makes me break out. I also seem to do better on soy milk...but not eating lots of soy...just soy milk.

I would say you may want to keep on using a perscription retinoid. Don't stop. Retinoids slowly normalize skin lining and cells. They take a very long time to work and if you stop it takes a long time for the skin to return to it's former malfunctioning state where the skin lining is not shedding like it should and the skin cells are clumping up which causes cystic acne.

Retinoids can be used for life and should be if you get cystic acne. They work. Your skin is telling you this.

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#12 amyelizabeth94

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 09:34 PM

After you stopped the soy, were consuming enough protein? I've heard some people say their acne got better when they started consuming more protein. I also drink Get Gorgeous tea, which seems to help (I drink 6 cups a day though).

#13 veelabrothel

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 05:11 PM

Thank you guys again for all your responses!

I have not changed makeup or anything and I am getting the same amount of protein (trying to at least.)

I have a question, I think I have "trigger" foods as well, so I've been keeping a diary about it. My guesses were peanuts/peanut butter (which is kind of an obvious one for many people) and something that is in hummus, be it the chickpeas or the tahini or whatever. Well today, I ate a small amount of peanuts earlier in the day AND a fair amount of hummus.....and I got a new zit! My skin has been stabilizing for about a week now and I am trying not to get upset, seeing as how I did this on purpose. Is it possible for a trigger food to make you break out immediately, like get a zit within ten or so minutes? If not, then I guess it's not hummus....but it might be peanuts....warrants further research.

I did start eating peanut butter more often after stopping soy and I went through a pretty serious phase with hummus too, but I have eaten both those things before and not had problems....once again, the only real difference being the lack of soy. For the hummus though, I will say I was eating a LOT more of that than ever before and the last new zit I had happened within thirty minutes of eating hummus about a week ago....

#14 Eina

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 11:33 PM

I'd be somewhat sceptical about food triggering zits within ten minutes unless it's an allergy type of a bump. Dairy gives me zits and it takes about a week for them to form so instead of obsessing every two hours, how about following your food log for a week and then re-evaluating the situation? If you're obsessing and fussing with your skin, it's difficult to know what's causing the problem when you maybe also keep changing your diet and skincare regimen. sad.gif

Using BP stops me from picking at my skin and it's definitely made a difference in that sense in addition to working otherwise too.

#15 Ellie Colon

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 10:17 AM

Almond Milk causes breakouts.

 

I had to sign up today to tell everyone that might be curious to know.  The sad part is, I absolutely love almond milk! It's so delicious.. however... I recently conducted an experiment.

 

I started drinking Almond milk around the same time that I started a new birth control.  I immediately started having breakouts.  I usually have clear skin.  I stopped taking the birth control and stopped drinking almond milk at the sametime.  Thinking that it was one or the other.  My acne cleared up to nothing. My skin became 100% clear.  I even got a chemical peel to solidify the clarity and remove any scars.

 

Last night I decided to test Almond milk and had a cup before bed.  Today I have a pimple on my left cheek.

 

I'm convinced Almond milk causes breakouts.



#16 Binga

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:12 AM

Almond Milk causes breakouts.

 

I had to sign up today to tell everyone that might be curious to know.  The sad part is, I absolutely love almond milk! It's so delicious.. however... I recently conducted an experiment.

 

I started drinking Almond milk around the same time that I started a new birth control.  I immediately started having breakouts.  I usually have clear skin.  I stopped taking the birth control and stopped drinking almond milk at the sametime.  Thinking that it was one or the other.  My acne cleared up to nothing. My skin became 100% clear.  I even got a chemical peel to solidify the clarity and remove any scars.

 

Last night I decided to test Almond milk and had a cup before bed.  Today I have a pimple on my left cheek.

 

I'm convinced Almond milk causes breakouts.

 

Almond milk is goitrogenic and can cause acne if you have thyroid issues. Try homemade almond milk or goat milk.



#17 kasyani

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:21 AM

QOUTE- VEELABROTHEL

 

The mystery is probably the worst part of acne. If I could just figure it out...

 

I had the same question some 30 years ago at the age of 25 after suffering for 10 long years, week in week out, from the same problem as you and Baroo and Boss 01(there are a couple of pics somewhere on my profile posts) but quite by accident I found the food or should I say chemical additives that 100% caused my huge cystic spots,I still get caught out every couple of years.

I never suffered from common acne,ie lots of small spots ,

 

So to name a few products that I avoid,which I can say categorically causes my cystic spots are instant soup,rice noodles,gravy/coffee granules,ramen,pot noodles etc,

I don't know the exact chemical but suspect maltodextrin,tricalcuim,dipotassium phosphate,E 150c,E261,E635,E3222,etc,etc,etc.

would like to see your diary of food you are consuming and any medicines as these can contain the same chemicals,

 

GOOD LUCK,let me know what you think please.



#18 callendula

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 02:49 PM

Hi! I'm sorry you had this experience! I, too, have had freak breakouts like that which left me confused and wondering what in the world happened!  I have heard that soy might cause breakouts, but if you have been on it and had no probs I wouldn't immediately think it was the soy. However, it also is said to help with hormones. So, IF you had hormone imbalances, maybe the soy was regulating that. Then when you went off soy, maybe your hormones went crazy again and caused the spots? Being in the area you mentioned, that is what people call hormonal acne... However, no expert, just thinking out loud.

 

When I had breakouts, I found that several factors could be in play for me. I don't know if it was one, or a combination, but the most common situations that were present in each case were:

 

1) extremely dry skin (from using too many drying products. My skin didn't necessarily FEEL dry, but once I stopped the topicals and used moisturizer, my skin calmed down and healed. Dry skin is damaged and can react to everything--not to mention becomes weak against fending off invaders) Recently I had a breakout and I was only using SA and acv toner. My skin did not feel dry at all. But I stopped both and just used some olay moisturizer for a couple of days and my skin calmed down and I started seeing improvement. I also iced the spots to help reduce inflammation. They have stopped growing..are becoming smaller and no new ones have come up. So you may be over drying your skin and not know it.

 

2) Stress/anxiety. Both times I had more stress than normal. It happens in the winter jan-march usually . I have seasonal affective disorder (depression) which peaks for me during those months. My husband is working 7 days a week, taking grad classes AND I have a teenage son (along with the annoying attitude!!). My life is HECTIC to say the least. I think it was too much for my system to handle.

 

3) Other products. I used a new hair product from jason and I broke out in cysts..  Couldn't figure it out.. Researched and found that algae extract can be terrible for skin. Guess what--jason had it in there. Stopped the product-- cysts went away. So, it might be something in a product you are using that isn't necessarily for your face. If you touch your face with anything--it has the potential to react. I never really thought about my hair conditioner as a culprit and it took me a good couple of weeks to come across it. lol

 

Anyways, just some suggestions. Hopefully something might help! :) I've been there so I definitely sympathize with your situation!